Baby it’s getting hot in here; The controversy over the popular Christmas song

Baby its getting hot in here; The controversy over the popular Christmas song

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Luis Gomez-Alfaro

As the holiday season has approached, so has the music that comes with it. This holiday season, the debate over a particular song is rehashed. The controversy over the song “Baby, it’s Cold Outside” started last year when radio stations in Cleveland and San Francisco decided to ban the song. The San Francisco station received ten times as many emails demanding that the song be put back into Christmas song rotation than emails demanding the song be not used.

One listen to the song and you will realize that it seems to have been left behind in a post Me-too society. The song’s lyrics evoke date-rape warning bells in your head with lyrics such as “But maybe just a half a drink more (Put records on while I pour) / The neighbors might think (But baby, it’s bad out there), / Say what’s in this drink? (No cabs to be had out there).” Throughout the whole song, the female voice in the duet is being coerced to stay and have some more drinks with the male voice because it’s “cold” outside. 

When a defense for the song is made, a few talking points are repeated. First is that the song was written in 1994 when times were different. Secondly is the daughter of Frank Loesser, the writer of the song condemned the “cancelling” of the song. The last one are general remarks that this is PC culture running amok again and making a mountain out of a molehill. 

In the revised version of the song by John Legend and Kelly Clarkson the lyrics are changed. Clarkson now sings “I’ve got to go away,” to which Legend responds, “I can call you a ride.” Other changes include Clarkson singing “What will my friends think,” and Legend replying, “I think they should rejoice.” “If I have one more drink?” she continues. “It’s your body, and your choice,” he answers. A notable celebrity to come out against the “cancelling” of the song is Sharon Osbourne. She said “It’s a piece of art and the thing is to change an innocent lyric to what is it, ‘Your mind and your body’? What the hell are you on? That’s ridiculous,” Osbourne said.

Whenever someone attempts to defend the song, it seems that they never address the lyrics of the song and what it really means. People clasp onto the song because they grew up with it and that can cloud good judgment. When you read the song lyrics, you can see that the female voice says she has to go close to ten times, always met with the male voice trying to persuade her to stay. It is also important to look at the lyrics in the context of the time the song was written. In the 40’s, a woman may very well could not have just refused a man’s approach, so her staying at the end of the song may not necessarily be what she wants. 

At the end of the day, this song no longer can be viewed in the same way and has to be looked at critically as the times have changed. I don’t believe this song or any type of literature should ever be banned but i do think that over time and as culture changes and progresses we will hear less of this song. It will become an old artifact like cigarette commercials from the same era. While I don’t think it should be banned, we must look at the song for what it is.